“The lifelong friends that I have made at CBU are a blessing that I thank God for. Teammates, suitemates, and friends — Tennessee Trash, you know who you are! — who are a part of my life today is something I didn’t realize I would have when I set foot on this campus for the first time. Yes, I earned a valuable degree, but I received so much more than that. Go Bucs!”

As a student at Memphis Catholic High School, Donna Thorpe Crone was a multi-sport athlete and received a basketball scholarship to play at CBU upon her graduation in 1979. She played two seasons of basketball and two seasons of tennis at CBU, earning the team MVP award in tennis as a senior. She graduated from CBU with a BS in Business in 1983 and went on to earn her master’s degree in Business Education from the University of Memphis in 1988.

After spending a few years in the business world and starting a family with her husband Chris (’76), Donna returned to CBU in 1997 to assume the role of coach for the Lady Buccaneer softball team. Donna also took on positions as the university’s NCAA Compliance Officer and Senior Woman Administrator while serving as a coach and leading teams that racked up 16 All-GSC West Division players, 11 All-Academic GSC Players, a GSC All-Decade Player, and an ESPN Academic All-American under her tenure. Her 2001 team still holds the NCAA Division II record for most triples in a game.

Donna left her coaching position in 2009, devoting herself full-time to the Senior Woman Administrator and Compliance Officer positions as Assistant Athletic Director. When longtime coach and Athletic Director Joe Nadicksbernd passed away in 2013, Donna stepped in as Interim Athletic Director for nine months and was then appointed to the new position of Associate Athletic Director in 2014. She has also served as a liaison for men’s and women’s golf with the Gulf South Conference and on an RAC Committee for softball and women’s golf for the NCAA. In 2021, she was appointed to the top position of Director of Athletics.

“My favorite experience with CBU is the journey I am currently on. I started as a student-athlete in basketball and tennis and was a work-study student for the athletic department,” Donna says. “It has come full circle from a work-study student-athlete to the Director of Athletics. I like to tell students who help out in this office that their CBU journey here may not be done after they graduate from here!”

Outside of CBU, Donna is an active member of St. Peter Catholic Church. She has served as a member of the Parish Council for the past six years and has also been a member of its Sandwiches for the Homeless Committee. She also serves as secretary of the Memphis Catholic High Hall of Fame Association, which honors and identifies former graduates and teachers of her high school alma mater who have excelled and distinguished themselves in life — and which inducted Donna into its honored ranks in 2021!

Donna and Chris have two children, both of whom are also CBU alumni — Kristen (‘11) and Justin (‘16), along with daughter-in-law Meg Mattis Crone (‘17). Justin and Meg recently made Donna a grandmother, welcoming their daughter Callie Ann Crone into the world in April 2022.

CBU is a special place for the Crone family. There are four generations who attended CBC/CBU — and with spouses added into the mix, we also have four generations of student-athletes who have attended CBC/CBU. And just maybe, Callie Ann will continue the legacy.